What is SaaS vs Open Source | Open Source CMS (Content Management System) vs Software as a Service (Saas) for websites

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If you are reading this, you have probably come to a crossroad while building a website or an online application. Is it better to use a SaaS platform or is it better to use an Open Source Platform? …

If you are reading this, you have probably come to a crossroad while building a website or an online application. Is it better to use a SaaS platform or is it better to use an Open Source Platform? That is the question? The answer to this dilemma will hopefully be determined below.

In this post, we define ‘Platforms’, ‘CMS’, ‘SaaS’ and ‘Open Source’, and we will break down the pros and cons of Software as a Service when compared to the pros and cons of an Open Source Content Management Systems.

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  • Think of a Living in a city , that’s like working with a platform The city takes care of the Water , Electricity , Garbage etc for you You could build a house in the Jungle , but all this would be your problem A platform like a city takes these problems away for you and sets up small departments that will take care of these things for you In a city , if you wanted a phone you wouldCall XXX-GET-PHONETell them you want a phone line Imagine if you were to do this in the middle of the Jungle , with no support system of the city , that’s like working without a platform , its possible but not advisable unless the situation calls for it


  • 1. SaaS vs. Open Source www.ClickTecs.com
  • 2. Agenda• Define: Platforms, Open Source, Hosted• Discuss Pros and Cons of Both types of systems• The RIGHT Solution for your client• Pricing Factors How to Quote?
  • 3. What is a Platform ? Definition: Platform is a Framework within which software is developed & software can function• Platforms… – make life easy for developers – allow the small tasks to be done easily thus saving time – are a collection of facilities or services that can be used to make life easy & more efficient
  • 4. It‟s a Jungle out there!!
  • 5. Open Source Platforms Definition: Open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end products source materials• Open Source… – Can be described as “Freely distributed” – Is all about Social , Community & Sharing – Bunch of developers come together & build something using all their skills that can be shared by others – Code is freely available for everyone to see & build on
  • 6. Open Source - Continued• Normally the open source community is very agile , quick to react and eager to help• Open source offers freedom of expression to people , they get to design “their” solutions to “their” perceptions of “other’s” problems.• Recently major corporations like Google & Apple have been focusing a lot on Open Source because of its obvious benefits
  • 7. Open Source Examples• A great example is the App Store , Apple will give a free Development Kit to any developer who wants to build an App for the iphone or ipad , no licenses , no money.• If the App sells the developer gets paid , the Developer also has the choice to give the App away for free• EXAMPLES of OPEN SOURCE PLATFORMS : JOOMLA , WORDPRESS , DNN , BUSINESS EDGE
  • 8. Hosted Platforms• Hosted Platforms are based on the “SaaS” model• SaaS stands for Software as a Service• This means you pay for use of the software and not the software itself• The service provider like your phone company provides you everything (the phone , the number , the service) & you pay for what you use
  • 9. Hosted Platforms Continued• SaaS allows high end technology to be available at very affordable prices by bringing in the economies of scale• Code is normally concealed and access is restricted or controlled• EXAMPLES OF SAAS PLATFORMS INCLUDE : Business Catalyst (Adobe) , CAR DEALERSHIP SITES (DEALER.COM OR DEALERSKINS.COM)
  • 10. Open Source Pros• Complete access to code - we can customize this type of system to any extent , be it talking to the customers point of sale system , integrate to their accounting system , create embedded flash applications , absolutely anything is possible• Open Source code - easy to understand code , well organized & developed by people who love what they do.• Support - hundreds of developers who know the system inside out are available all over the internet , in addition to that they have forums , blogs etc. you can google any issue and find a fix.
  • 11. Open Source Pros• Applications & Modules : tons of modules or widgets freely available: eg. if you wanted a real estate site you could simply install a module and get done in 20 minutes• Low cost of ownership : typical hosting fees range between 5-15 dollars a month for an average site• The Client "owns" the site so they can move it or host it anywhere and they have access to all the code• Zero Cost of Technology – Normally the source code is completely free to get
  • 12. Open Source Cons• Complex Setup & install - a server has to be prepared and setup so you need an expert to do this• Managing a site can be complex as it is designed for a basic level of technical skill• Developers of Open Source tend to assume that it will be used by other Developers , however this is rapidly changing• Simple functions maybe easy to perform , but you have to know certain nuances of the system
  • 13. Open Source Cons• Design & Architecture is very opinionated , open source allows freedom of expression, so an amazing application may come with a quirky dependency , just because that‟s what the developer wanted to do.• Multiple variants to one solution• Too Many options• High initial cost - since a lot more work needs to be done to set this up
  • 14. SaaS - Hosted Pros• Cutting Edge Technology : The creators of the Application upgrade the application centrally & everyone benefits with the upgrade• Easy to Manage : the user interface is very user friendly• Large Investments by creators : Normally these initiatives are backed by capital so the associated benefits are reflected
  • 15. SaaS - Hosted Pros• Well Packaged• Well Documented• Dedicated Support• Heavily Featured to cover 80-90% of requisite functionality• Low to No cost upfront
  • 16. SaaS - Hosted Cons• No "ownership" : the client never really owns the site , its more so a lease• No Portability : the client cant host the site on their servers• Higher cost of ownership: Over time• Limited customization : since you have no access to code , you get stuck when you are faced with advanced customization• Limited "specialist" : its tough to find developers who know the system inside out. As compared to an open source system
  • 17. Selecting the Right Solution• Pricing Constraints : Does the math work? Will they pay the higher monthly fee (SaaS/hosted) or the higher setup fee (Open Source)?• Do they want to “Own” the site ? – If NO, then SaaS is an option• Will the Client be very „Hands on‟ with the solution? – If YES, then with SaaS they can break a lot less.
  • 18. Questions?Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmijhashmi@clicktecs.comConnect with me on Linkedinhttp://ca.linkedin.com/in/jamshaidhashmiFollow me on Facebook:www.facebook.com/jamshaidhashmi